Subject: Re: GPL Compliance Toolset
From: "Karsten M. Self" <kmself@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 11:07:05 +0000

on Sat, Jan 11, 2003 at 10:35:53PM -0800, DV Henkel-Wallace (gumby@henkel-wallace.org)
wrote:
> I found this rather obnoxious: "With Microsoft (R) or WindRiver (R), 
> it's easy to verify software license compliance because you don't have 
> license soup to contend with. Linux is different."
> 
> What a load of crap.  If you use third-party code you need to track its 
> license restrictions.  GPL code is no more and no less difficult.

I'd noted the same thing.

Actually, free software tends to be markedly simpler in most cases.

I've done some non-rigorous license surveys based on both my own Debian
installations and licenses as tracked by project at Sourceforge.  The
GNU GPL itself covers about 80-85% of projects.  Three licenses, the
GPL, LGPL, and BSD license, get you to near 90%, and tossing in MIT/X11,
Artistic, Apache, and Mozilla, puts you into the 95% range.

Many of these licenses have language allowing the _licensee_ to use, at
his or her discretion, either the issued version of the license or a
subsequent version.

Proprietary software licenses are very much one-offs (though much of the
boilerplate bears topical similarity).  Microsoft has (in)famously taken
to making substantial and wide-reaching modifications to its terms in
the process of interim software upgrades.  See for example:

    http://radsoft.net/news/20020905,00.html

    It has come to Radsoft's attention, and all too many times now, that
    people are not reading their 2KSP3 EULAs and installing without
    understanding the dangers. This next sentence is therefore an
    unqualified warning.

    ANYONE USING ANY MS OS LATER THAN 2KSP2, OR WITH ANY 'FIXES' LATER
    THAN 2KSP2, DOES SO AT THEIR OWN RISK - AND UNDER EXTREME JEOPARDY.


> (I remember talking to a program manager at Allied-Signal: he was 
> concerned that he couldn't keep track of how many VxWorks licenses he 
> had; he figured a GPL approach would keep him from having to worry 
> about it).

Hell, there's a software sub-industry of license management / compliance
software.

> I don't see how this helps their Linux message.

Agreed.

Peace.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   Geek for hire:  http://kmself.home.netcom.com/resume.html